Author Topic: The editing blues  (Read 356 times)

JRTomlin

The editing blues
« on: November 09, 2019, 12:11:56 PM »
Starting a thread for everyone who is in the middle of an edit to come and whine. Have I mentioned that I hate, hate, hate editing?
 
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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 12:25:50 PM »
I'm past the self-edit stage and now I'm plugging in stuff from my editor.  Tedious at best. The worst part is there is more red ink on this book than any other I've written. Very disheartening.
           
 
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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 12:34:52 PM »
I'm still editing from beta readers and it goes to an editor next.

Does "He yelped himself awake..." make sense? 🙄

It does suck when there's a lot of red.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 12:52:30 PM by JRTomlin »
 
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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 12:54:50 PM »
I'm still editing from beta readers and it goes to an editor next.

Does "He yelped himself awake..." make sense? 🙄

It does suck when there's a lot of red.

I've yelped myself awake several times.  :icon_rolleyes:
           
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: The editing blues
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 02:10:03 PM »
I've yelped myself awake several times.

I yelp when I spill hot water on my foot.

Then again, the cat jumping on my foot with claws out can cause waking with a yelp. Followed by iodine and a bandaid.
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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 03:53:09 PM »
Thanks. I think that phrase works oddly enough. That is one sentence fixed.

I tell you what I think bugs me so much about editing is that you go through fixing a sentence her or a punctuation mark there without producing anything new. I don't get any feeling of satisfaction for my effort. At the end of the day in spite of having spent a lot of time editing, often more than I would writing new material, I feel as though I haven't accomplished anything. I know I have, but it just doesn't feel like it.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 05:13:09 PM »
I haven't done this for the past 3-4 novels, but for my WIP I'm considering printing the whole thing out, retiring to some quiet spot and then reading it through with a red pen at the ready.

I quite enjoy the process, but I do have a rule that the pen has to sit on the bed or table next to the manuscript, rather than in my hand. That way I don't keep scrawling trivial changes on the pages, because anything I want to change has to be so bad it's worth picking up the pen for.




 
 

 
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RiverRun

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 05:48:20 PM »
I haven't done this for the past 3-4 novels, but for my WIP I'm considering printing the whole thing out, retiring to some quiet spot and then reading it through with a red pen at the ready.

I quite enjoy the process, but I do have a rule that the pen has to sit on the bed or table next to the manuscript, rather than in my hand. That way I don't keep scrawling trivial changes on the pages, because anything I want to change has to be so bad it's worth picking up the pen for.


I did this but I formatted my book through draft2digital and ordered proof copies thru kdp. (I hate printing and it always costs me too much money). I also found that using pen and paper stopped me from fiddling with inconsequential changes and as well as finding actual mistakes. 

I hated it though. If I hadn't had a deadline I don't think I ever would have finished. I feel your pain.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 10:19:51 PM »
I have a cheap ($90) laser printer, and I order the toner online (cheap knock-off copies, $16 ea. The real ones are closer to $120.)

I print on one side of the paper, and when I've finished with the MS I crop it into two halves and staple the pages into scrap paper notebooks.  I always keep those near the bed so I can scrawl three pages of plot notes and ideas in the middle of the night.





 
 

 
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cecilia_writer

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 11:19:36 PM »
I haven't done this for the past 3-4 novels, but for my WIP I'm considering printing the whole thing out, retiring to some quiet spot and then reading it through with a red pen at the ready.

I quite enjoy the process, but I do have a rule that the pen has to sit on the bed or table next to the manuscript, rather than in my hand. That way I don't keep scrawling trivial changes on the pages, because anything I want to change has to be so bad it's worth picking up the pen for.


I did this but I formatted my book through draft2digital and ordered proof copies thru kdp. (I hate printing and it always costs me too much money). I also found that using pen and paper stopped me from fiddling with inconsequential changes and as well as finding actual mistakes. 

I hated it though. If I hadn't had a deadline I don't think I ever would have finished. I feel your pain.

I usually get a copy printed via Lulu and use post-its (sticky notes) to mark up all the errors - the excitement of seeing the thing as an actual book almost makes up for the task of editing. Also, I take the post-its out as I progress through the edit, so it is quite satisfying to see the number in the book diminishing as I go along.
PS I quite like some aspects of editing. What I really hate is the part where you have to move chunks of the book around or even delete them, but that all happens well before the printed book stage.
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LilyBLily

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2019, 11:26:00 PM »
I like the feeling that editing is improving my story. What I donít like is getting beta readersí reports saying Iíve still got work to do. Thatís what I pay them to tell me, but I would prefer that they all say they loved everything about the story as is. I can tell when an edit pass has strengthened the story but I do struggle with the need to keep doing more of them. Were I to hire a developmental editor and receive back a long list of things needing change, Iíd be so daunted by the amount of work ahead Iíd probably clutch.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2019, 11:28:56 PM »
I like the feeling that editing is improving my story. What I donít like is getting beta readersí reports saying Iíve still got work to do. Thatís what I pay them to tell me, but I would prefer that they all say they loved everything about the story as is. I can tell when an edit pass has strengthened the story but I do struggle with the need to keep doing more of them. Were I to hire a developmental editor and receive back a long list of things needing change, Iíd be so daunted by the amount of work ahead Iíd probably clutch.

Don't we always think our babies are perfect?  :angel:
           
 

sandree

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 03:14:48 AM »
Ugh. I just got a beta reader report back and I have a lot to do. I know plotting is my weak point and that was confirmed. Thank goodness the writing, world building and dialog received good feedback. I have to let it sink in so that I can see how to strengthen it and where to add scenes.

Next time, I swear, I will start with a strong plot.

alhawke

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 03:18:40 AM »
I really want to move past editing to get to new projects. A lot of you guys write new stuff and edit. I don't like to do that because I rather immerse myself in a story and write out the draft all at once. Now I have two books I'm editing at the same time. The result is major procastination and edit, edit, editing instead of write, write, writing over the past two weeks.  :icon_sad:
And taking lots of breaks writing on writersanctum  Grin
 

Hopscotch

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 02:00:21 PM »
Sorry but can't understand folks who hate editing.  A book is made in the editing.  If I could skip the writing and go straight to the editing that's what I'd do.  Editing is terrific fun.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 02:21:36 PM »
It is an unpleasant necessity as far as I'm concerned.
 

PJ Post

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2019, 03:41:36 AM »
Sorry but can't understand folks who hate editing.  A book is made in the editing.  If I could skip the writing and go straight to the editing that's what I'd do.  Editing is terrific fun.

I totally agree. And for the newer writers out there, editing (adding, subtracting, moving words around) is the quality control part of the writing process. Itís where we take a mediocre book and make it the best it can be. Not everyone sees it as a barely worthwhile pain in the ass.

In fact, itís okay to love editing. Itís my favorite part. I liken it to a brush on canvas, moving layers of paint around until they capture exactly what Iím trying to say - even if I don't.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2019, 03:50:56 AM »
Frankly, if your book is mediocre moving a few words around will not make it brilliant. And I did not describe it as 'barely worthwhile' so don't put words in my mouth. Thanks.

It is a necessary step to present a good work at its best. That does not make it enjoyable for those of us who do not enjoy it.

ETA: I also lay paint on canvas. When I am writing. Editing is cleaning up the bits where I accidentally let the paint splatter.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 03:56:25 AM by JRTomlin »
 

PJ Post

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2019, 04:09:40 AM »
Frankly, if your book is mediocre moving a few words around will not make it brilliant.

For me, editing (rewriting, cycling, reworking, developmental editing, substantive editing, restructuring, deleting words, adding words, refining - seriously, whatever you want to call it) is far more than moving a few words around. And yes, it's this process that often turns average books into brilliant ones. Well, that's what many of the 20th century masters claim, anyway.

I agree that proofreading is an extremely tedious, yet necessary pain in the ass. So, if that was what you were talking about, then never mind - I agree.
 

Lynn

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2019, 04:34:48 AM »
Sorry but can't understand folks who hate editing.  A book is made in the editing.  If I could skip the writing and go straight to the editing that's what I'd do.  Editing is terrific fun.

I totally agree. And for the newer writers out there, editing (adding, subtracting, moving words around) is the quality control part of the writing process. Itís where we take a mediocre book and make it the best it can be. Not everyone sees it as a barely worthwhile pain in the ass.

In fact, itís okay to love editing. Itís my favorite part. I liken it to a brush on canvas, moving layers of paint around until they capture exactly what Iím trying to say - even if I don't.

LOL. I think the purpose of the thread was pretty clear. I don't know why you'd want to jump into the thread just to say you don't need this thread.

On the one hand, you're very vocal about the fact that you think indie authors are missing the opportunity to embrace the art of being indie, and on the other, you openly chastise anyone who approaches the art and craft of writing (and editing) from a different angle than the one you take. :D

I mean, kind of sounds like a "do it your way, but only if it's my way" argument. :D

Maybe that's not your intent. But that is definitely what I see when I read posts like this one.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2019, 04:36:22 AM »
I know the two novels I had the most trouble with were early NanoWrimo efforts (2005 and 2006, I think).  Those were 50,000 words of sentence soup, where I'd write unconnected scenes just to make the daily count. They needed to be padded out to 80k, too. I ended up throwing it all away in the end, because that level of editing and rewriting is a nightmare, and it's a lot faster to just take the idea and start a whole new draft.

Now my process is hugely different, because I don't write a scene unless I have a few sentences of outline for it. Same goes for the next chapter or two, which ensures they fit the plot.

Thinking back to those early days gives me the shudders, and it's why I now write every chapter as though it's never going to be edited. Finished copy, in other words, barring any typos, plot holes and the like.




 
 

 
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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2019, 04:55:37 AM »
I think my main problem is I'm either too in-love with my words to want to change them, or I abhor my words so much I don't want to have to reread them. Either way, it has to be done so I do it.

 :dizzy :shrug :help
           
 

PJ Post

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2019, 05:08:26 AM »
I mean, kind of sounds like a "do it your way, but only if it's my way" argument. :D

Maybe that's not your intent. But that is definitely what I see when I read posts like this one.

I split this part out to apologize for my poor communication on the matter. I don't believe in any One True WayTM - for much of anything. All we have are best practices that may or may not work for everyone, and I strongly believe that everyone needs to find their own path.

Quote
LOL. I think the purpose of the thread was pretty clear. I don't know why you'd want to jump into the thread just to say you don't need this thread.

The term 'editing' gets used for lots of different literary processes, so, no, it wasn't clear at all.

Quote
On the one hand, you're very vocal about the fact that you think indie authors are missing the opportunity to embrace the art of being indie, and on the other, you openly chastise anyone who approaches the art and craft of writing (and editing) from a different angle than the one you take. :D

It's not about being Indie, it's about writing better books. The folks who have been at this for a while are going to do what they're going to do - you do you - but the newer writers, the ones who got caught up in the publishing fast churn, or that our books only need to be good enough, or writing to market, or whatever the latest self-publishing wisdom of the week is, need to know their options. I want to encourage them to stick with it. To that end, editing, in all of its forms, has always been a critical part of the literary process. So many Indies see it as unnecessary because they're not writing literary fiction, which is missing the entire point.

I don't want new writers to get proofreading confused with rewriting and other forms of editing.

eta: editing is one of those best practices.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 05:14:24 AM by PJ Post »
 

Luke Everhart

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Re: The editing blues
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2019, 05:12:41 AM »
The best info and perspective on editing that I've found is from Rachel Aaron's "2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love". Don't let the title mislead you; it covers a lot more than simply strategies to improve word count. It spends a big chunk of the book discussing editing.

https://www.amazon.com/2k-10k-Writing-Faster-Better-ebook/dp/B009NKXAWS

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Lynn

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2019, 05:21:23 AM »
I mean, kind of sounds like a "do it your way, but only if it's my way" argument. :D

Maybe that's not your intent. But that is definitely what I see when I read posts like this one.

I split this part out to apologize for my poor communication on the matter. I don't believe in any One True WayTM - for much of anything. All we have are best practices that may or may not work for everyone, and I strongly believe that everyone needs to find their own path.

I guess this is what's being lost in translation. I've read oodles of your posts over the years, here and there (the other place), and I've pretty much always agreed when you start talking about how we shouldn't feel straitjacketed to the write to market, commercial approach. But I just can't agree that the only way to make a book better is to take a pen to it and start fiddling.

Sometimes, once a book is done, it's the best is can be and messing with it is going to do nothing but turn it into a shadow of what it could have been, because a book is more than a collection of sentences and paragraphs. It has energy. Once you start fiddling, it's very easy to screw that up. New authors would be best served IMO to be very cautious of edits and revision. It can take a passable or a good book and make it terrible. It can take a great book and make it mediocre.
 
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cecilia_writer

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2019, 05:39:27 AM »
Quote from Lynn:
Quote
Sometimes, once a book is done, it's the best is can be and messing with it is going to do nothing but turn it into a shadow of what it could have been, because a book is more than a collection of sentences and paragraphs. It has energy. Once you start fiddling, it's very easy to screw that up. New authors would be best served IMO to be very cautious of edits and revision. It can take a passable or a good book and make it terrible. It can take a great book and make it mediocre.ometimes, once a book is done, it's the best is can be and messing with it is going to do nothing but turn it into a shadow of what it could have been, because a book is more than a collection of sentences and paragraphs. It has energy. Once you start fiddling, it's very easy to screw that up. New authors would be best served IMO to be very cautious of edits and revision. It can take a passable or a good book and make it terrible. It can take a great book and make it mediocre.
(End quote)
I think this can be true quite often. I sometimes feel really good about the plot and structure of a book when I finish the first draft, which is a great feeling and not always an illusion! It still needs to go through line edits and proof-reading, of course. But just occasionally even in a long genre series (in my case this happened with the 18th book in a series and was quite a shock to the system) something goes horribly wrong and you just know it needs serious structural work - not so much to turn it from mediocre to brilliant or anything approaching that, but to turn it into any kind of a book. In that particular case there was nothing else for it but to slow right down and get the bones of the story right before doing anything else.
(Ironically, one of the reviews on that book complimented me on my plotting!)

{Fixed quote. t.} Thanks for fixing! I couldn't get my tablet to quote properly.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 10:39:03 PM by cecilia_writer »
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alhawke

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2019, 06:54:07 AM »
I agree completely with the importance of getting professional editing eyes, line/copy edit and proofread, to look over your work and then revising it. It has to be done. But that doesn't mean I have to like doing it.

I prefer the process of writing fresh new manuscripts. As the story moves with my keystrokes, it's like reading a book.

And now I'm going to edit some more.  grint
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 07:32:28 AM by alhawke »
 

PJ Post

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2019, 07:27:31 AM »
I guess this is what's being lost in translation. I've read oodles of your posts over the years, here and there (the other place), and I've pretty much always agreed when you start talking about how we shouldn't feel straitjacketed to the write to market, commercial approach. But I just can't agree that the only way to make a book better is to take a pen to it and start fiddling.

Sometimes, once a book is done, it's the best is can be and messing with it is going to do nothing but turn it into a shadow of what it could have been, because a book is more than a collection of sentences and paragraphs. It has energy. Once you start fiddling, it's very easy to screw that up. New authors would be best served IMO to be very cautious of edits and revision. It can take a passable or a good book and make it terrible. It can take a great book and make it mediocre.

Apparently, writing is hard.  grint

And I agree; itís super easy to ruin a book in editing, to lose our voice, or the thing that made it special or worth writing in the first place. It's why I'm always saying that writers should find an editor (not proofreader) who gets what they're doing.

But...

The first draft is almost never the best version of anything. Some poetry...some musical recordings...but exceedingly few.

For example (and I've seen this), a book showing someone ordering liquor from a bar and the author makes no never mind as to what it is they're ordering. Sometimes it's described as amber or just a bottle of something. Liquor, what we drink and what we don't, is extremely personal, opinions formed over years of both good and bad experiences. That's character development. But you might not know for sure what this new character, someone you're just meeting, likes to drink when you begin writing the book, but, by the end, you will. So you go back and add that little bit in. And if you go back and do that all over the place, with character, mood, setting and action sequences, your world begins to really take shape, your characters become three-dimensional. Your book gets better. If we go back with a global perspective, we can improve pacing, tighten the suspense...dial up the excitement.

In art...we revise, rework and refine.
In design...we revise, rework and refine.
In cinema...we revise, rework and refine.
In music...we revise, rework and refine.
In traditional literature...we revise, rework and refine.**

This isn't just a best practice, it's pretty much the way creative stuff is done.

So...when it comes to Indie books, I don't see them as special. To get our best, we need to revise, rework and refine just like everybody else. Now, how to go about it, and how 'best' is best enough - that's an individual thing.

**The most well-known example I can think of where this was not the case is Kerouac's On the Road, typed out on a single 120' roll of paper. Responding to Kerouac at the time, Capote called it typing, not writing. But he was wrong, because the story is apocryphal. Contrary to myth, Kerouac spent six years, spontaneously, revising and editing multiple drafts before publication.

eta: I believe it's impossible to know the breadth and depth of a novel, to know itís themes and nuance before it's written, even if you outline, so we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I really do believe that the only way to get our best work is to, through one process or another, refine it.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 07:44:25 AM by PJ Post »
 

JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2019, 07:55:31 AM »
Frankly, if your book is mediocre moving a few words around will not make it brilliant.

For me, editing (rewriting, cycling, reworking, developmental editing, substantive editing, restructuring, deleting words, adding words, refining - seriously, whatever you want to call it) is far more than moving a few words around. And yes, it's this process that often turns average books into brilliant ones. Well, that's what many of the 20th century masters claim, anyway.

I agree that proofreading is an extremely tedious, yet necessary pain in the ass. So, if that was what you were talking about, then never mind - I agree.
I said editing. I meant editing. Again putting words in my mouth. Stop.

If I can figure out how to block your posts, I will do so.
 

okey dokey

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2019, 11:07:02 AM »
I used to think that a genus, like Beethoven or Dickens, only had to put down the first golden thoughts in the head.
Then I saw photo copies of their original work.
Original copies of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Dickens' David Copperfield looked like cats had stepped in the ink wells and walked all over the paper.
Yep, a genus doesn't have to struggle like us mortals.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2019, 11:58:30 AM »
I'm struggling with revising a 42k novel I wrote but did not finish a few years ago. I wrote it recently enough that the writing is at least halfway competent, if not more so, but the story crosses subgenre boundaries and I can't imagine anyone wanting to read it as it exists today. That's the problem with being an indie: I can write whatever I want even if it's a big mistake.

But it's 42k! I don't want to throw it away; I want to turn it into a complete published story that appeals to readers of a particular subgenre.

I just finished (for now) another major revision of an older ms., and that was hell. This is going to be a lot of work. Worst of all, it's in a new subgenre for me and I'll have to write a couple more books in this subgenre just to get anybody to pay attention. This is the part of editing I hate, when it's major surgery. But it's 42k! I only need another 23k!    :dizzy :help :icon_think: :smilie_zauber:
 

Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2019, 12:18:17 PM »
I'm struggling with revising a 42k novel I wrote but did not finish a few years ago. I wrote it recently enough that the writing is at least halfway competent, if not more so, but the story crosses subgenre boundaries and I can't imagine anyone wanting to read it as it exists today. That's the problem with being an indie: I can write whatever I want even if it's a big mistake.

But it's 42k! I don't want to throw it away; I want to turn it into a complete published story that appeals to readers of a particular subgenre.

I just finished (for now) another major revision of an older ms., and that was hell. This is going to be a lot of work. Worst of all, it's in a new subgenre for me and I'll have to write a couple more books in this subgenre just to get anybody to pay attention. This is the part of editing I hate, when it's major surgery. But it's 42k! I only need another 23k!    :dizzy :help :icon_think: :smilie_zauber:

Ouch!!!
           
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: The editing blues
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2019, 12:54:11 PM »
but the story crosses subgenre boundaries and I can't imagine anyone wanting to read it as it exists today.

You never can tell until it's out there.

Today, you can cross the streams!
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RiverRun

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2019, 02:49:39 PM »

Apparently, writing is hard.


I think it's great that some people don't need much, if any, editing. But I agree with PJ that most people do not write very good first drafts. I know there are exceptions, but most writers don't fall into that category and do well to edit. It's tough to write a good book if one has never written a bad one.

But I also think, and this is probably pointless and unsubstantiated opinion, but I think the 20th century is notable for the idea of the struggling writer. Thanks to Hemingway, and probably James Joyce and who knows how many others, it became almost necessary for writers to appear as slaves to the typewriter, suffering for their art. It was the thing to make writing look hard. It is hard, but it isn't that hard. My husband works in construction, and he has had some jobs that are undeniably hard. I can think of some things I've had to do that make writing seem like a walk in the park. In fact, writing is often an escape for me. I'm not trying to minimize the had work writers do, and I'm all in favor of doing a little whining about writing once a while. Happy to join in! But some of the rhetoric from 20th-century literary giants is kinda' overblown in my opinion.

I like the image of the painter studying the canvas, adding a dab here and there. I write a lot like that. But I'm doing this as a hobby. If I had to make a living doing this, my approach would likely be very different. I remember reading - somewhere? - about an artist who began doing commercial work, regular commissions on deadline - and found that her art improved dramatically. While I don't think the world needs a lot more hastily published books, I also don't think that the slow, painstaking, time-consuming model is necessarily the best school. You have to really know what you're doing before you can make significant improvements at that level.

And there's something to be said for finishing a project and starting another. I know in my case it taught me things I couldn't have learned from simple editing the same book indefinitely.

Anyway, back to commiserating:)
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2019, 03:08:56 PM »
I remember reading - somewhere? - about an artist who began doing commercial work, regular commissions on deadline - and found that her art improved dramatically.


It was March last year when I decided to stop hobbying around and turn my fiction writing into a full time job.  I discovered that I could indeed write a novel a month (although six weeks is comfortable), and that I did not need to rewrite every chapter three times.

Here's the main thing I discovered: When I write a novel in four weeks, the entire plot is fresh in my mind the whole time.  I can remember the whole novel, and shape the writing to match.

When I used to spend 8 months on a novel I'd lose the tone the characters spoke in, forget all kinds of earlier events (and thus fail to mention them again), forget WHY characters did certain things (or 'what the hell was I thinking?') and so on. Thus, the finished manuscript required several passes to make everything consistent.

Neither way is the right way. I just know that writing a novel quickly transformed the whole experience for me. I'm 100% focused on that novel for the entire 5-6 weeks, I remember where I've been and where I'm going, and I tend to avoid losing my way.

I'm not arguing for or against fast writing, nor for or against editing.

Do what works for you, understand that other people do it differently, and most of all remember there is no One True Way!


 
 

 
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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2019, 03:12:02 PM »
How many words a day do you have to write to finish a novel a month, Simon?
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2019, 03:22:00 PM »
I aim for 2000-2500, which isn't much when you consider it's my full time job. (Most of my novels are around the 75k mark, but occasionally closer to 90k. Hence 4-6 weeks.)

It varies, though. For example, I've written 10k over the last 2 days. Last month, on a different novel, I wrote around 4k per day for two weeks straight. Lots of space combat scenes in that one, though, and I find they're much quicker to write than, say, dialogue in a historical novel. (in the current novel I'll often rewrite each sentence of dialog/first person thoughts 2-3 times immediately after typing them, to get the tone & structure just right.)

As I get towards the end of the novel it's easier to go flat out, because the plot is in place and I'm just filling in the blank pages.

 
 

 
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Lynn

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2019, 04:39:03 PM »
Quote
Here's the main thing I discovered: When I write a novel in four weeks, the entire plot is fresh in my mind the whole time.  I can remember the whole novel, and shape the writing to match.

When I used to spend 8 months on a novel I'd lose the tone the characters spoke in, forget all kinds of earlier events (and thus fail to mention them again), forget WHY characters did certain things (or 'what the hell was I thinking?') and so on. Thus, the finished manuscript required several passes to make everything consistent.

This is how I wish I worked. :-) I haven't given up trying to get there but I always seem to lose interest at some point and either end up taking a ridiculously long break in the middle somewhere or I have to switch stories.

I am convinced that if I could stay engaged with one story and write quickly my books would be better than ever. The few times I've done it, that is exactly what happened. :D

I just get bored with writing and it happens a lot more often than I'd like. I have an impossible time getting myself to put in the time once that happens. I can be on top of the world with excitement for a scene when I go to bed and the next day so bored with the process of writing that making myself sit down to write it is impossible. Nothing to do with the story. Everything to do with my brain.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: The editing blues
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2019, 05:10:58 PM »
Everything to do with my brain.

Red Bull. Gives you writers wings.  :angel:

Also makes you write all night and sleep all morning, but that's another story.

I'm deliberately writing shorter now. 65k target instead of 85k. Helps me meet the 2 month schedule, and means I'm less likely to 'lose it' in the middle.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.



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JRTomlin

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2019, 05:45:03 PM »
*cough* A little liquor works for me. Or wine.

I start a new novel tomorrow even though my last one is still being edited. It takes two months for me to write a novel and then another month at least to have it ready for publication. That doesn't count research. If I can manage 3 or 4 novels a year, I'm doing very well indeed. Fortunately, I can make a living at that rate. More would be better but simply are not possible.
 

VanessaC

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2019, 08:09:13 PM »
Really enjoying this discussion. Love how we're all so different in how we approach things. And I also find that process varies book to book - but I still count myself as a new writer, working out what works for me.

As to the original topic, I always, always, have a point in the editing / revision process where it just feels like a never-ending hell-loop and it feels like I'm never, ever, going to finish and be done with the damned book. If I keep turning up, putting in the time, somehow, by some miracle, I get over it and the book is done. But it's horrible for a while.  A bit like the 1/3 doldrums of the initial drafting stage! But, still, I love writing, even with the hell-loop and the doldrums.

 :tap
     
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RiverRun

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2019, 11:08:53 PM »
Quote
Here's the main thing I discovered: When I write a novel in four weeks, the entire plot is fresh in my mind the whole time.  I can remember the whole novel, and shape the writing to match.

When I used to spend 8 months on a novel I'd lose the tone the characters spoke in, forget all kinds of earlier events (and thus fail to mention them again), forget WHY characters did certain things (or 'what the hell was I thinking?') and so on. Thus, the finished manuscript required several passes to make everything consistent.

This is how I wish I worked. :-) I haven't given up trying to get there but I always seem to lose interest at some point and either end up taking a ridiculously long break in the middle somewhere or I have to switch stories.

I am convinced that if I could stay engaged with one story and write quickly my books would be better than ever. The few times I've done it, that is exactly what happened. :D

I just get bored with writing and it happens a lot more often than I'd like. I have an impossible time getting myself to put in the time once that happens. I can be on top of the world with excitement for a scene when I go to bed and the next day so bored with the process of writing that making myself sit down to write it is impossible. Nothing to do with the story. Everything to do with my brain.

This could be me.

And I also sometimes start new stories in the middle of finishing one, but I can't really get into them until the first one is done, by which time I've lost all the enthusiasm for the extra stuff I started. But it's like my brain craves a creative break.

I have no idea how to fix it, or even if it needs fixing.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2019, 11:48:15 PM »
When I used to write short stories, I had to finish them in one sitting or else they'd languish forever. (I have about 100 unfinished shorts in a dusty old directory.)


 
 

 
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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #43 on: Today at 12:21:50 AM »
I remember reading - somewhere? - about an artist who began doing commercial work, regular commissions on deadline - and found that her art improved dramatically.

Here's the main thing I discovered: When I write a novel in four weeks, the entire plot is fresh in my mind the whole time.  I can remember the whole novel, and shape the writing to match.

When I used to spend 8 months on a novel I'd lose the tone the characters spoke in, forget all kinds of earlier events (and thus fail to mention them again), forget WHY characters did certain things (or 'what the hell was I thinking?') and so on. Thus, the finished manuscript required several passes to make everything consistent.


I used to be able to keep everything in my head, although I did note a few things at the bottom of the doc. Now my brain is aging along with everything else. E.G. yesterday, I had about half an hour to write and got down a little over 400 words. That was at 3:45. At 8pm, I wrote another 1K. When I was transferring my work to Word, I noticed that in the first session, I sent someone to wake up two people. By 8pm that night, I sent somebody else to wake them up as if I hadn't already done that.

Unfortunately, that is becoming more frequent. Not constant, thank goodness, but more often than I'd like. Editing as I go is a necessity and finding mistakes like that is frustrating.

           
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #44 on: Today at 12:26:51 AM »
I've taken to writing myself short reminders within the text.  What each character did last, and what they're meant to do next.

 
 

 
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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #45 on: Today at 01:16:14 AM »
I've taken to writing myself short reminders within the text.  What each character did last, and what they're meant to do next.

Noting what they did last might work, but not what they were meant to do next. I never know what they're going to do next. I had sort of planned the last big scene until last night when something entirely different and sooner than I had thought, appeared on my screen. The joys and dangers of being a pantser.  :icon_think: :doh:
           
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #46 on: Today at 01:24:24 AM »
I'm a pantser too, but I try to herd the characters whenever I can ;-)

 
 

 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: The editing blues
« Reply #47 on: Today at 01:34:54 AM »
I'm a pantser too, but I try to herd the characters whenever I can ;-)

Herding characters in combat suits and wielding big guns is a bit dangerous.  grint
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.



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Maggie Ann

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #48 on: Today at 01:35:55 AM »
I'm a pantser too, but I try to herd the characters whenever I can ;-)

Those little imps do have a mind of their own. Worse than a two year old.  :roll:

I'm a pantser too, but I try to herd the characters whenever I can ;-)

Herding characters in combat suits and wielding big guns is a bit dangerous.  grint

I use a broom, a rolling pin and a wooden spoon.
           
 

cecilia_writer

Re: The editing blues
« Reply #49 on: Today at 02:35:09 AM »
I remember reading - somewhere? - about an artist who began doing commercial work, regular commissions on deadline - and found that her art improved dramatically.


It was March last year when I decided to stop hobbying around and turn my fiction writing into a full time job.  I discovered that I could indeed write a novel a month (although six weeks is comfortable), and that I did not need to rewrite every chapter three times.

Here's the main thing I discovered: When I write a novel in four weeks, the entire plot is fresh in my mind the whole time.  I can remember the whole novel, and shape the writing to match.

 I just know that writing a novel quickly transformed the whole experience for me. I'm 100% focused on that novel for the entire 5-6 weeks, I remember where I've been and where I'm going, and I tend to avoid losing my way.



Yes - although I've been writing stories since I was 6 (rather a long time ago) and I even managed to finish a few things, I didn't find myself writing seriously until I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in November 2006. I think this taught me both to make things up as I went along and to keep the whole thing in my head. The longer it takes me to finish something, the more difficult it gets.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 
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